Professionals who help with your pregnancy

We introduce the crack team of medial professionals who’ll help make your pregnancy journey as smooth as possible, all the way from bump to birth


Your GP

When you’ll see them

“The first thing to do after getting your positive pregnancy test is to see your GP,” says Dr Michael Apple, GP and author of Dr Apple’s Symptoms Encyclopaedia.


“Your GP will confirm your pregnancy with a urine test and estimate your due date,” he adds.

What they’ll do

“He or she will check your previous medical history, blood pressure and may also feel your abdomen if he or she thinks you’re further along in your pregnancy than you realise,” explains Dr Michael.

You’ll also be given general health advice, as well as what care you can expect during your pregnancy.

“This is when you’ll be registered for your first booking-in appointment with your midwife too,” adds Dr Michael.

Appointment tip

“If you’ve got any worries from a previous pregnancy or miscarriage, now is the time to talk about it,” says Dr Michael.

“I was worried about the risk of Down’s syndrome as I’m an older mum. I talked to my doctor who explained the options and arranged the tests,” says Sarah Lewis, 38, from Taunton, 7 months pregnant.


Your Sonographer

When you’ll see them

Most hospitals offer at least two ultrasound scans during pregnancy – the first is around 814 weeks and the second at 1820 weeks.

What they’ll do

You’ll be asked to drink lots of water, as a full bladder pushes your womb up giving a better picture. Once you’re lying down, jelly is put on your abdomen and an instrument is passed backwards and forwards over your skin.

The scans check your baby’s position, growth, measurement and development, as well as the position of the placenta and for any abnormalities. You may be able to find out the sex at the 20-week scan too.

Appointment tip

The image may be confusing, so ask the sonographer to explain it to you. And decide in advance if you want to know the sex, says Melissa Hayes, 24, from Sussex, 8 months pregnant. “My husband and I hadn’t talked about it, so when we were asked he said yes and I said no! We had to decide on the spot.”

Better organisation improves midwife support

Your Midwife

When you’ll see them

“You’ll see your midwife for the first time at your booking-in appointment at around 1013 weeks, again at 20 weeks and around eight more times in total up to the birth,” says Sue Thompson, midwife at Liverpool’s Women’s Hospital.

What they’ll do

At your booking-in appointment, your urine will be tested for glucose and protein, your blood pressure will be taken, you’ll be weighed, measured, and asked for a full medical history.

“You’ll also be offered a blood test to check your blood group, iron count and immunity to rubella,” says Sue.

Your second appointment will tie in with your 20-week scan. “Then the next at around 23 weeks when your urine and blood pressure will be checked again, your baby’s heartbeat will be listened to and your bump measured to check the baby is growing properly,” says Sue.

You’ll have the same checks at the other appointments except at 28 weeks when you’ll also be given a full blood count.

“At the birth your midwife will monitor your baby’s heartbeat, your blood pressure, offer appropriate pain reliefand deliver the baby if there aren’t any complications,” says Sue.

Appointment tip

“If you think of things to ask your midwife at home, write them down and bring them to your next appointment. You can also ask your midwife to write any answers down 
for you too,” says Sue. “Don’t be embarrassed asking about things like if it’s OK to have sex during pregnancy, and what to do if you get thrush,” says Emma Cummings, 28, from Colchester. “She’ll have heard it all a million times before.”


Your Obstetrician

When you’ll see them

“Your midwife will ask an obstetrician to see you if you experience problems in your pregnancy,” says Michael Heard, obstetrician and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) spokesperson.

What they’ll do

“Some women need to see an obstetrician at the start of their pregnancy – for example, if you have diabetes they’ll need to plan your care,” says Michael. Other women may develop problems during the pregnancy – you might get high blood pressure or have a ‘small for dates’ baby, for example.

“These cases are reviewed by the obstetrician and midwife, but are normally returned to the care of the midwife if the problem gets resolved,” explains Michael.

Appointment tip

Be prepared for getting help from an obstetrician during the birth too – if you need ventouse or forceps, an obstetrician will usually do this and they’ll also do any caesareans and manage the more complex deliveries.


Your Antenatal teacher

When you’ll see them

“Most NHS antenatal classes are run by midwives at the hospital or in the local area,” says Mary Sheridan, midwife at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and lecturer at King’s College London. “Hospitals usually offer five or six sessions in your last trimester.

What they’ll do

“The main point of the classes is to prepare mums-to-be for the birth,” says Mary. “This includes explaining the different types of labour, the signs of labour, how to cope during the birth, and pain relief options.

Breastfeeding and a tour of the maternity unit are covered too – either as part of the sessions or as a separate workshop,” adds Mary.


Appointment tip

“Lots of mums-to-be find their antenatal classes good for discussing their birth plan, as the sessions cover the pros and cons of each type of pain relief,” says Mary.

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